Nothing makes me feel more smug than wearing my favourite 12-year old boots and still receiving attention. I remember saving up for them, drying them off after getting out from the rain and storing them in the original boot bag they came in. They would finish off every outfit and make me feel amazing. These were my lucky boots.
Sadly, over the years I’ve noticed that fast fashion has become the accepted norm. I am saddened by how classic items are now so easily thrown aside and replaced in efforts to keep up with new trends.
But thankfully, with the rise in awareness of the effects of climate change, eco-conscious fashion seems to be the newest trend. Celebs such as Emma Watson, Livia Firth and Will.I.Am are all using their platform to incite positive and sustainable change. There are a new generation of fashionistas who are challenging highstreet stores while raising awareness of the environmental and human rights violations of many of our favourite brands.
Emma Watson’s gown at the Met Gala. The dress is made entirely from plastic bottles.
What does climate change have to do with fashion? Many things as a matter of fact. For one, the constantly changing trends in fashion mean that the factories responsible for churning out these trends can’t take much of a break and neither do the emissions they produce. According to the UNFCCC, the total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production are currently at 1.2 billion tonnes annually; more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
But could sustainable spending be the solution? Of course this is an amazing step to take for both the fashion industry and buyers. But unfortunately despite new brands such as ‘Lucy & Yak’ and ‘People Tree’ introducing us to transparent fashion; the truth is, it is just not enough to fix what has already been done. We now know just how big the problem of global warming is and the truth is, recycling only puts a band-aid on a very big issue.
What we need is to massively slow down consumption and soon. Two of the best ways of doing this are by buying responsibly and most importantly looking after what you have. Whether we take our old clothes to a charity shop or donate them to friends, it's our responsibility as humanitarians to look after them.
With the fashion industry contributing to around 10% of global greenhouse gas, making clothes last longer is one of the easiest steps we can take towards an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle.
7 Tips For Making Your Clothes Last Longer
1. Quality over quantity:
I first found this out the hard way with my yoga mat. I invested in over 5 different mats all between £15-£35 with every mat causing me to slip and interrupting my practice. Eventually I took the leap and invested in an £85 mat that I have now had for over 5 years and can’t see myself needing a new one anytime soon. Invest in something that you know will last you for a long time, keep it clean and look after it well.
2. Wash your clothes inside out:
We are often told to wash our darks inside out to prevent fading but all clothing may benefit from this. It may help prevent the loss of buttons, zippers or other items on the clothing catching on or rubbing against other clothes or the washing machine. 3. Strap up your bras before washing:
Make sure to lock your bra to prevent snagging or hooking other items in the wash this may also help your bras keep their shape. 4. Wash delicates in a wash bag or DIY pillow case:
I have been using this trick for years, as first recommended to me by my godmother; simply add delicates to a similar coloured pillowcase and tie at the top with a hair tie. 5.Use less detergent: Remember that the recommendation by your detergent is a rough guide for soiled clothing. Be mindful with half and full loads and think about just how soiled your clothes really are. I limit the amount of detergent I use in the washer and never find my clothes coming out unclean. This in the long run will be gentler on your clothes, be more cost effective, whilst also reducing your carbon footprint!
6. Read washing instructions: They are there for a reason. If you wash your clothes at higher temperatures than is recommended, this will take its toll on your clothing and lead to an increase in colour fading, shrinking, and ultimately being a waste of unnecessary energy.
7. Don’t wash after every wear. This is a big one. We have a big issue in the West when it comes to cleanliness we're mistaken into thinking that an item of clothing must be washed after every wear but for the most part this isn't necessarily true. If the item isn't in contact with the skin, then you may get more wears out of it. If all fails, do the sniff test. If it smells ok, then it doesn't need washing. If it’s a case of your clothes smelling like this morning’s coffee then how about spraying some homemade Febreeze and on the clothing and hanging it by an open window.
Homemade Febreze 3 simple ingredients: Baking Soda Water Essential oils